If some psychic had predicted that mass numbers of people would be flocking to a chicken sandwich restaurant chain this week to express their feelings on the issue of gay marriage, that clever clairvoyant would have been able to write his or her ticket for some time to come.
But no such prediction occurred. The scene that has unfolded in Tucson and elsewhere definitely falls into the category of "the truth is stranger than fiction." But as unforeseeable as it was, Chick-fil-A's fast-food counters have become the front lines of one of the most heated civil rights issues of our time. It happened after the company's top exec, Dan Cathy, suggested that support for gay marriage was "inviting God’s judgment on our nation."
Cathy's remarks provoked an instant critical backlash. But on Wednesday a backlash against the backlash erupted, as supporters jammed Chick-fil-A's stores in a spectacular show of support. Gay rights activists responded, promoting what was being called "National Same-Sex Kiss Day" -- -- urging supporters to head to a Chick-fil-A restaurant on Friday to kiss someone of the same sex.
KGUN9 viewers are paying close attention to all this, and have been quite vocal over the past few days. Commentary was brisk on Wednesday, when Chick-fil-A customers turned out in support of the company. But when the other side announced plans for the "kiss-in," commentary doubled. Viewers have been taking on the issues and each other.
One common feature we often find whenever KGUN9 covers a controversial issue that has everyone talking is that some of those doing the talking insist the issue isn't worthy of public attention. We're getting a lot of that in this case, too, with some viewers chiding KGUN9 for thinking any of this is news.
Below is a sampling of the viewer commentary, starting with feedback received in reaction to Wednesday's show of support for Chick-fil-A:
Deidra Davis (via Facebook): "This is absurd. A great display of hypocrisy by a bunch of narrow-minded people. Bravo, media. Way to stir the hate. I'm a Christian. I am not gay. I have gay friends. What people tend to forget is that God gave us all free will. If you are gay and happy with yourself and your life, congratulations. You are miles ahead of the people who were ignorant enough to wait an hour and a half to eat a chicken sandwich with means to protest your way of life. Celebrate with a burger. I did."
"TaitAZ" (via KGUN9.com) - "It's just like the 50s & 60s all over again. It would have been great to have polled the people in line to find out if they are married and how many times they have married."
"daffysfedup" (via KGUN9.com) - "Nicely done participants. It's about time that those who think their opinion is the ONLY opinion, received a nice nose thumbing. Free Speech is for everyone, not just the loud mouths who think they're always right."
Joyce Brazie (via Facebook): "I personally won't ever go this place anymore. Church & State is supposed to be separate so why would someone in public office make someone's sexuality an issue??????? Dumb."
"peaches06" (via KGUN9.com) - "Disagreeing with ChickFilA's COO Dan Cathy is an American right, I disagree with his beliefs and choose to no longer eat there; but wanting to ban his restaurant from cities across America because of those beliefs is fascism. Know the difference."
Cynthia Harrington (via Facebook): "The left must always be at war with civil society. 'Marriage equality' is just the latest progressive false flag. "
Stacy Closky (via Facebook): "People should just live their own lives. If you don't like same sex marriage don't marry someone of the same sex, it's that simple. It does not concern you, go about your life. I wonder, are your lives so miserable that you have to make other people's miserable too? Sad. Just sad."
Luis Zuniga (via Facebook): "Who wrote this crap! Straight out bias!"
Bernice Bowers Wallace (via Facebook): "The only narrow-minded people are the media. They have taken what Mr. Cathy said about family and marriage, out of context and successfully caused an uproar. Everyone has a right to their opinion and what they believe in, and as a Christian private business owner, he can do whatever he wants with his money. He did not force his belief on anyone. He answered a question honestly. People need to stop thinking that since you support something, you must be anti anything. If you don't agree with his stance, don't support him or his business. It's that simple."
Shannon Cascioli (via Facebook): "This shouldn't have been worth a story. Good job America for supporting bigotry. My kids are taught equality. Not love thy straight neighbor only."
Jill Enabnit Dalrymple (via Facebook): "I support Dan Cathy and his right to express his views wholeheartedly."
Tanya Castanon (via Facebook): "I am not arguing what Mr. Cathy said because I UNDERSTAND he is his own person and can and will do what he wants. HOWEVER, he (and his company) have RECENTLY given money to organizations that are trying to help make homosexuality illegal. THAT is where I think it is wrong."
Brian J. Hoffner (via Facebook): "How many of you have read the actual transcript of the interview with the chick fil a ceo? If you did you would see how absurd your 'hate' allegations are."
Marissa Marie Mejias (via Facebook): "Wow. Adults are fighting and picking at each other on a Facebook post about gay marriage. This is pitiful. I'll be 16 in two months. I have gay friends and teachers. Therefore, I support gay marriage. But you don't see me teasing people on KGUN 9's post. That is down right childish.... I can see discussing the topic as an okay thing. But when ADULTS start teasing other ADULTS about little mistakes in their comments, I think to my self, 'That's something a twelve year old would do.' This whole topic is ridiculous. People are gay! Get over it!"
Tyler Woods (via Facebook): "Really there is no other news in Tucson?"
Below is a sampling of commentary that came in after gay rights activists announced their "kiss-in":
Tom Ribaudo (via Facebook): "I don't think anyone should kiss in public, either gay or straight."
Joyce Brazie (via Facebook): "I don't have a problem with Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual People however Public affection shouldn't be displayed in front of young kids it will confuse them."
Tiffany Thum Morgan (via Facebook): "Oh G-d heaven forbid people express love in front of kids!! Please people I think kids have a lot more to worry about that is expressed in front of them not the expression of love!!"
Timothy J. Hurley IV (via Facebook): "We have the same right to show up tomorrow [Friday] that the supporters had to show up on Wednesday. Except that we're not doing it out of hate; just to make that clear. If you have a problem with it, then just stay home."
April Mitchell (via Facebook): "Hate the sin, but not the sinner. I will not be anywhere where I or my children have to see public affection. No matter the circumstance."
Lynn Rosas (via Facebook): "I do know my Bible and I know that gay marriage is wrong. You will believe whatever you want but think that you need to read yours. I have a doctorate in theology and gay marriage was never accepted by God...."
Billy McCoy (via Facebook): "9oys why do you promote this garbage? Seems like you love to stir the pot!!"
Teresia Ploski (via Facebook): "And again KGun9 shows their bias."
Dave Wolf (via Facebook): "Aren't there more devastating issues to focus on than someone's sexual preference? Seriously. This country is a mess! And it's obvious why."
Robyn Pomonis (via Facebook): "The difference is the people who showed up on Wednesday were paying customers. Your purpose is to incite others. But knock yourself out, it will be a huge flop."
Jordana Springer (via Facebook): "A kiss is a kiss. Couples kiss in public everyday! It's not like we are going to be making out, come on now."
John David (via Facebook): "I don't want to see anyone kiss in public no matter what! Tacky and trashy. Stay classy America."
Alethea Parker (via Facebook): "I understand how everyone has their rights even gay people, but it's not necessary to kiss in front of the Chick-Fil-A. It's disturbing actually."
Liliana Torres Viera (via Facebook): "That is just disrespectful. I mean what are they going to prove or get out of all the kissing. They just want trouble."
Brenda Lopez (via Facebook): "This is disgusting! What about the families that go there to eat with their kids?"
Marissa Walker (via Facebook): "I think this is great. I don't know why people are so anti-gay. Wake up, it's 2012."
Join the debate. You can post your comment here at the bottom of this story or by logging on to our KGUN9.com Facebook page.